Examining the interactive effects of the filter bubble and the echo chamber on radicalization

Michael Wolfowicz*, David Weisburd, Badi Hasisi

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

10 Scopus citations

Abstract

Objectives: Despite popular notions of “filter bubbles” and “echo chambers” contributing to radicalization, little evidence exists to support these hypotheses. However, social structure social learning theory would suggest a hereto untested interaction effect. Methodology: An RCT of new Twitter users in which participants were randomly assigned to a treatment of “filter bubble” (personalization algorithm) suppression. Ego-centric network and survey data were combined to test the effects on justification for suicide bombings. Findings: Statistically significant interaction effects were found for two proxies of the echo chamber, the E-I index and modularity. For the treatment group, higher scores on both factors decreased the likelihood for radicalization, with opposing trends in the control group. Conclusions: The echo chamber effect may be dependent on the filter bubble. More research is needed on online network structures in radicalization. While personalization algorithms can potentially be harmful, they may also be leveraged to facilitate interventions.

Original languageAmerican English
Pages (from-to)119-141
Number of pages23
JournalJournal of Experimental Criminology
Volume19
Issue number1
DOIs
StatePublished - Mar 2023

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2021, The Author(s), under exclusive licence to Springer Nature B.V.

Keywords

  • Echo chambers
  • Filter bubbles
  • Internet
  • Radicalization
  • Social structure-social learning

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